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US Delegation Travels to Cuba

FILE - Roberta Jacobson, U.S. assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs, will lead the U.S. delegation to Cuba.

A U.S. delegation travels to Cuba Sunday for a third round of talks between the two countries about re-establishing diplomatic relations and easing economic and travel sanctions imposed decades ago.

Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson is heading up the U.S. delegation set to meet with Josefina Vidal, director-general of the U.S. division of Cuba's Foreign Ministry.

The historic talks between the U.S. and the Castro government began earlier this year. The development is opposed by many Cuban-Americans and others who say it legitimizes Cuba's communist government that has been tightly controlled by Fidel Castro and his brother Raul.

U.S. officials have said that discussions with Cuba would include improving the human rights situation in the country.

Jacobson said the two sides have discussed establishing civilian air links between the U.S. and Cuba, but that the date for human rights discussions has not yet been set.

EU official's visit

Later this month, European Union Foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini is due to visit Cuba as a next step in ongoing talks aimed at boosting trade relations between the 28-nation bloc and the communist state.

Mogherini will meet with her Cuban counterpart Bruno Rodriguez, her office announced Saturday. She is the highest-ranking EU diplomat to visit the island.

Mogherini's March 23-24 visit "comes at a crucial time" for negotiations between the two sides, the statement said.

"Cuba is facing a very interesting period and the European Union is keen to see how we can take the relationship forward with strong momentum," it said.

The EU has been in talks with Cuba for the past year to increase trade and investment. Brussels lifted the sanctions on Cuba in 2008 after half a century.